File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9801, message 40

Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 13:58:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Foucauldians

Just a detail-- do you mean Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale" John? There the
positive sense always given to birthing becomes the sinister product in a
totalitarian regime for which the women are mere 'vessels'. Brings to mind
the fascist girlfriend in "Europa Europa" who wants to get herself pregnant
for Hitler.

>On Sat, 17 Jan 1998, IR. Douglas wrote:
>> I'm running a seminar series on biopower in general and one of these
>> sessions is concerned with Foucault's investigations of
>> 'politzeiwissenchaft' (the 'Wohlfahrt' state:
>> wealth-tranquility-happiness)
>>    Along with each theme I want to show an appropriate film.  I have films
>> for the sessions on madness, delinquency, medicine, militarism etc., but I
>> cannot think of one which would best represent the type of state that
>> Foucault had in mind when he talked about the rise of biopower: the type
>> of state that attempts not to limit or suppress life, but facilitate it.
>> Orwell's 1984 is a good example of the former (the boot stamping on a
>> human face forever), but I'm at a loss to think of a film that represents
>> the state specifically in its 'positive' role.
>> any help would be much appreciated!!
>> Ian R. Douglas
>> Visiting Scholar,
>> Brown University
>Sounds like a great course! Wish I were there. I want to think more about
>movie titles, but I am unable to think of something immediately either.
>One point you might make to your students is that this is one of
>Foucault's best insights, one that had not at the  time and has not still
>made it into creative arts.
>Perhaps one way to do it is to ask students to look for the more hidden
>positive moves of power in films that wear the repression-angle on their
>sleeves. For instance, "A Maiden's Tale" has a lot of repressive stuff in
>it, but in order for this to work a number of positive embodiments of
>power have to go on.
>"The Last Detail" doesn't show us power producing subjectivity, but does
>show us some fairly stunted results of that production.
>A good place where "biopower" can be seen breaking down is "Diary of a Mad
>Housewife." So too "Coming Home." But (a) I'm sure you've thought of these
>and (b) they don't really fit the bill, do they?
>< John S. Ransom     717-2 <
>< Political Science      4 <
>^ Dickinson College      5 ^
>^ Carlisle, PA 17013     - ^
>>   1 <
>< Denny 107              7 >
><                        1 >
>>                        6 ^


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